¡Mi amigo Carlos!

As I reflect on our trip to Chile and the visits with the amazing families we had the pleasure of interacting with, one thing continues to surprise me- The overwhelming connection I feel with those families and how welcome I felt when entering their home.

My limited knowledge of the Spanish language paired with the incredibly personal topics of discussion had an surprisingly SMALL impact on my ability to interact and connect with the beautiful people living in the Campamentos. Truthfully, I am not sure exactly what I expected my experience in the Campamentos to be- but the friendships I acquired and the impact those friends had/have on my life is something that will undoubtably stay with me forever.


One person I met on the journey surprised me with his courage, curiosity and amazing sense of humor. To him and I am thankful for the lessons he taught me in such a short time!

Carlos, warmed up and was accepting of three complete strangers that came into his home, permitted us to ask his family numerous personal questions and was understanding of the language barrier, yet continued to interact with us as if none of those factors even phased him! He is one of the smartest, bravest and friendliest people I have met- in the Campamentos, in Chile, and on the Globe! Carlos is an 11 year old autistic child.

I’d like to share a story, not about an interaction I had with 11 year old Carlos, but one that I witnessed between him and my team member KC.

Carlos & Group

Sitting at the dining room table in Carlos’s Grandmother’s Media agua- with the T.V. running in the background, KC- a ZERO Spanish speaker, and Carlos- a FLUENT Spanish speaker, sat down with a pad of paper and a dozen colored pencils. Both of them had the instructions to draw their homes. KC, drew an apartment complex with several people and his bike sitting outside. Carlos drew a soccer field!

KC & Carlos

The Field represented the location of where his previous house was located; however, in a matter of seconds the drawing was no longer his home… it was the WORLD CUP soccer Field, and the game between the USA and CHILE was about to begin!

KC was playing for the USA, and Carlos was the team captain for Chile! Carlos gave KC lessons on how to “kick” the soccer ball on the page- which consisted of lining up a pencil on a pre-drawn player and “shooting” the pencil in the direction of the goal. The game lasted about 10 minutes ultimately ending with the overwhelming 4-0 win for CHILE! All of the exchanges between the two were with gestures, facial expressions and a bunch of chatter in languages that neither one understood! -I think the only English exchange between the two was a comment about the death of Michael Jackson (which I found amusing!)

KC & Carlos

Witnessing this interaction between two people who not only don’t speak each-others spoken language, but come from different cultures, countries, ages, social-status and family structures, was incredibly touching and illustrated that the differences among all of us sitting in that room were really quite SMALL and despite those challenges we were still able to communicate- as long as we had an open-heart and kept an open-mind.

Thank you, Carlos for letting us into your life! You are an inspiration and I look forward to watching you follow your dreams!


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